College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

Presented by the College of Charleston department of theatre and dance, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” is a contemporary, biting comedy by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. Although her award-winning plays deal with a variety of subject matters in vastly different circumstances, each of her stories focuses on a strong woman. “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” is no different in that regard and fits perfectly to close the College’s current theatre and dance season featuring female–centric works written by women.

Nottage tackles black Hollywood in the 1930s, 1970s, and again 30 years later and its impact on fictional actress Vera Stark. The humorous, often surprising play illustrates life in show business for African American actors. “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” is a journey through Stark’s life as she maneuvers her way from being the maid of a Hollywood star to being a star in her own right…but in a lesser way based not on talent but solely on color and opportunity.

The College’s production is directed by Associate Professor of African American Theatre and Performance, Joy Vandervort-Cobb. 

“Ironically enough, Nottage’s writing and the department’s choice of “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” preceded all the #oscarsowhite hoopla,” Vandervort-Cobb shared, “but has been great fodder for discussion with the cast and me. Pretty telling that some of the hardships this fictional character and her cohorts were having in the ’30s should still be echoing today, huh? Our research included films from pre-code Hollywood and post-code Hollywood, lots of discussion of social and political history, actresses and musicians from all the time periods covered in the play.” 

DETAILS: The production will run Thursday, April 14 through Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Curtain times will be 7:30 p.m., with an additional Sunday, April 17 matinee at 2:00 p.m. Performances will take place at the Emmett Robinson Theatre in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. Admission is $20 for general public; $15 for senior citizens College of Charleston employees and non-College of Charleston students; $12 for College of Charleston students. Tickets can be purchased online at by emailing or by calling (843) 953-6306.